Updated: Sep 19, 2020
An autonomous ‘taxi for one’ concept has won a prestigious graduate design award.
The taxi concept, developed by Marius Lochner, won the Ford “New Norm Mobility Award”. Ford asked design graduates to create travel concepts, ideas and solutions that address new challenges brought on by the outbreak of coronavirus.
Lochner, a transport design graduate from Staffordshire University, developed the self-driving ‘taxi’ for one, called the “muvone”. The winner of the award put together a vehicle based on the idea of secure individual mobility adhering to social distancing.
According to Ford Europe the “muvone” concept contains a minimalist interior with flat surfaces and easy-to-clean materials so the vehicle can be disinfected between journeys.
Ford Europe, chief designer Chris Hamilton, said: “The COVID-19 crisis has greatly influenced our lives, changing the way people and goods move, and creating a ‘new normal’ for everyone. This requires new ideas for apps, features, designs and mobility, at a time when the vehicle is a preferred private space and personal health is more important than ever.”
The award is part of the “New Designers Awards”, the largest design graduate show in the UK, open to students graduating in design. This year, the show was held virtually. For his winning concept, Lochner receives £1,000, plus a semester of mentoring from Ford of Europe chief designers Ernst Reim and Sonja Vandenberk, who were part of the judging panel along with Hamilton and Amko Leenarts, Ford’s European director of Design.
The award was run in partnership with Top Gear Magazine. Charlie Turner, editorial director of Top Gear, was part of the judging panel and gave detailed feedback on all the design proposals.
Charlie Turner said: “The breadth and creativity shown in the entries for this challenge was deeply impressive and articulated the true depth of next-generation talent coming through the education system. However, it didn’t make picking a winner easy at all.”